Activity patterns of the spur-thighed tortoise, Testudo graeca (Reptilia: Testudines: Testudinidae) in northeastern Algeria
Rachid Rouag, Nadia Ziane and Slim Benyacoub
We study the activity patterns of a population of the spur-thighed tortoises Testudo graeca occurring in an enclosed area of 30 ha in the National Park of El Kala (northeastern Algeria) with the aim of exploring the variation in daily and seasonal activity of males, females and juveniles from March, 2004 to March, 2005. Our results show that the species displays a unimodal daily activity pattern during spring, with the highest activity during the mornings (81.55 % of active tortoise are seen between 10:00 h and 14:00 h).In summer the daily activity pattern of tortoises is lower and shows a bimodal distribution (22.22 % of active tortoises are seen early in morning between 09:00 h and 10:00 h and 41.67 % are seen later between 16:00h and 18:00 h). No differences were found between the daily activity of males and females. The monitoring of the activity during 7 months revealed that tortoises are most active in March with 2.44 tortoises/hour of search. Later, the activity decreases with 0.97 tortoises/hour of search in June. It becomes very low from July to September (from 0.25 to 0.15 tortoises/hour of search). The annual activity pattern does not vary according to age and sex.